10629787_10152772065259686_5180326900001420349_nHey guys, a couple of people were asking me about the talks I do, ,so I thought I'd post one.

A Disability Is Not an Inability

Hi all, my name is Andre Campbell. I am a 25 year old writer, comic artist and speaker with Cerebral Palsy, and before I start, I would like to thank Extend-A-Family for inviting me to share my thoughts about disability, dignity and inclusion. Alright, first off, a person with a different level of ability might have many interests and aspirations, as well as other intriguing tidbits, but oftentimes, a lot of people hone in on one part of the individual; the “disability,” and thus lose sight of their other characteristics. Then terms and phrases like crippled, handicapped, disabled, a person with special needs, and differently abled, etc. are used to describe the variety of medical conditions commonly known as disabilities, but what exactly are disabilities?

If we look at the etymology of the word itself, and specifically its Latin roots we get the following. Dis is a Latin prefix that means “apart,” and ability coming from the Latin word habilitatem or habilitas meaning “aptitude.” So, disability literally means “apart from aptitude,” “apart from talent or skill.” Think about that. Right from the start, people saw those of us with varying levels of ability as inferior, and not able to be contributing members of society.  Over the years, this notion has seeped into society’s subconscious mind, and has become a nigh unconscious filter for how it views us.  Now, one could argue that times have changed - I’m not disputing this at all. Things (namely services, attitudes and accessibility,) have improved even within my lifetime. However, if we help shift society’s focus from disability and inability to ability, concepts like inclusion and dignity will be actualities, because they will become second nature to implement. Also, by promoting this newer belief that a disability isn’t an inability, the inferiority associated with the old belief will start to fall away.

To me, inclusion is simply recognizing and valuing another person’s worth, regardless of their race, gender identity, sexuality, religion or level of ability.  I feel that how Mr. Stewart treated me, epitomizes this idea perfectly. In fact, my former teacher went over and beyond the call of duty, and assisted me with a number of extra-curricular activities, many of which were related to charity. All of this made me feel like I belonged, and that for once, my disability didn’t matter.

I used to subscribe to the idea that having a physical impairment would stop me from achieving my goals, as well as having a happy and successful life.  However, Mr. Stewart, helped me to shift my focus from my “disability” to my ability, simply by making me feel included and valued. I feel that others can make this shift if we promote, and subscribe to the ideas that inclusion doesn’t have to be a big production, and that different levels of abilities are not inabilities. These differences don’t make us inferior or lesser people - each one of us here tonight has talents and skills, and are, or can be contributing members of our communities, as well as society as a whole, regardless.

Thank you!

Inclusion Celebration Talk

Hi all, my name is Andre Campbell. I am a 25 year old writer, comic artist and speaker with Cerebral Palsy, and before I start, I would like to thank Extend-A-Family for inviting me to share my thoughts about disability, dignity and inclusion. 

Alright, first off, a person with a different level of ability might have many interests and aspirations, as well as other intriguing tidbits, but oftentimes, a lot of people hone in on one part of the individual; the “disability,” and thus lose sight of their other characteristics. Then terms and phrases like crippled, handicapped, disabled, a person with special needs, and differently abled, etc. are used to describe the variety of medical conditions commonly known as disabilities, but what exactly are disabilities?

If we look at the etymology of the word itself, and specifically its Latin roots we get the following. Dis is a Latin prefix that means “apart,” and ability coming from the Latin word habilitatem or habilitas meaning “aptitude.” So, disability literally means “apart from aptitude,” “apart from talent or skill.” Think about that. Right from the start, people saw those of us with varying levels of ability as inferior, and not able to be contributing members of society.  

Over the years, this notion has seeped into society’s subconscious mind, and has become a nigh unconscious filter for how it views us.  Now, one could argue that times have changed – I’m not disputing this at all.

Things (namely services, attitudes and accessibility,) have improved even within my lifetime. However, if we help shift society’s focus from disability and inability to ability, concepts like inclusion and dignity will be actualities, because they will become second nature to implement.

Also, by promoting this newer belief that a disability isn’t an inability, the inferiority associated with the old belief will start to fall away.

To me, inclusion is simply recognizing and valuing another person’s worth, regardless of their race, gender identity, sexuality, religion or level of ability. I feel that how Mr. Stewart treated me, epitomizes this idea perfectly. In fact, my former teacher went over and beyond the call of duty, and assisted me with a number of extra-curricular activities, many of which were related to charity.

Disability is not inability
Disability is not inability


All of this made me feel like I belonged, and that for once, my disability didn’t matter.I used to subscribe to the idea that having a physical impairment would stop me from achieving my goals, as well as having a happy and successful life. However, Mr. Stewart, helped me to shift my focus from my “disability” to my ability, simply by making me feel included and valued.

I feel that others can make this shift if we promote, and subscribe to the ideas that inclusion doesn’t have to be a big production, and that different levels of abilities are not inabilities. These differences don’t make us inferior or lesser people – each one of us here tonight has talents and skills, and are, or can be contributing members of our communities, as well as society as a whole, regardless.

Thank you!

"Cyborg Man" via Google Images

Yes, you read that correctly, sometime in the near future, I'm going to become more bionic. I am already sorta bionic with my spinal rods, and hip plate, however, I was talking with my mum this past weekend, and well, long story short, I have decided to get a Baclofen pump... Even though this is my choice, I don't relish the thought of a computerized hockey puck surgically implanted near the base of my spine. I have a lot of mixed feelings, and anxieties surrounding this notion.

For the longest time, I've been fervently against getting a pump because surgeries and I don't do well together, and a doctor said that there's a 75% chance that I could lose my upper-body mobility, which scares the hell out of me! I'm also afraid that if the pump is visible through my skin, I'd seem "more disabled," and...possibly even unattractive to a potential partner, casting director, and/or a talent agent, and ultimately face yet another rejection. Yes, I know this is an incredibly silly and shallow fear, but there it is. Though, every coin, or puck for that matter, has two sides, right?

A Baclofen pump could significantly reduce my spasms, and could help me handle being in my chair for longer periods. Therefore, I'd be able to accomplish  lots more without having my body revolt for weeks every time I'm up. It would also help give me the stamina to pursue my dreams like modeling, acting, and falling in love.

So yeah, becoming more bionic has its perks, and really, it all comes down to one question. Do I want to continue to spend 90% of my life in bed? I LOVE my bed - we have an amazing relationship, but sometimes a guy just needs his space, ya know?

Hi all, so I had an awesome Wednesday evening! I felt a bit like Cinderfella, but not in a rags-to-riches way, rather someone with worth. Now, hold on, this is not going to be a depressing post  - no, far from it! I just meant that Wednesday's crowd saw passed my disability, which doesn't happen very often. For many of the people I meet, my Cerebral Palsy acts like a barrier that deters them from wanting to get to know me.

After my speech, people started asking me questions, and sharing their stories, and I was like, "YES! This is happening! I'm finally getting to show people that we can do anything, and say, yeah, life can suck sometimes, however, you're not alone. IT CAN get better." Needless to say, but I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience!

The following is a clip from this awesome experience! I wasn't able to record the whole thing, but I'm hoping to have someone try to get all of Monday's speech. Now, because the video ends mid sentence, I shall finish it after said video.

"Just keep putting yourself out there, and don't give up because you will find people who have similar interests as you, and who will accept you for you."

facebook-squareyoutube-squareinstagram